November 2016

Seasonal Allergy Sufferers, Rejoice! Massage Can Help

               Spring is finally here. The cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden are in full bloom, the mourning doves that nest in the tree on our terrace have returned from their excursion south, and the daffodils planted last fall are blossoming. It is a really beautiful time of year but if you are a seasonal allergy sufferer you may wish for this time of high pollen and other seasonal allergens to quickly pass by. I admittedly have seasonal allergies and used to take conventional allergy medications and pray for that first big rain to wash away the allergens. I now consider massage treatments a viable option that lasts longer than a pill.

            Massage therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies. An allergy is simply an adverse physiologic result of our immune system to any allergen. Our body releases histamines to combat the allergen. However, the release of histamine causes inflammation and injury to tissue. Conventional treatments and medications contain antihistamines designed to block the actions of our natural histamines. The problem with antihistamines and other conventional treatments such as steroids and decongestants are the unfavorable side effects and short durations of relief.

     While there may not be much research in the matter of how massage therapy benefits seasonal allergy or yearly allergy sufferers, we do now that the release of histamines is exacerbated by stress and it is widely reported that massage therapy lowers levels of cytosol or the stress hormone. In addition, massage therapy addresses physical symptoms as well. When you cough or sneeze, you engage your ribs, neck, shoulders and spine and when you undergo a sneezing or coughing fit, your body can be thrown out of alignment. Remember when Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs had to go on the disabled list for spraining a lower back ligament while sneezing? Additionally, sinus trigger points reside in the neck muscles and massage therapy treatment can release these triggers. 

            There are other complementary and alternative therapies to turn to for allergy relief as well. Reflexology encourages sinus drainage and helps to decrease inflammation brought on by histamines. Shiatsu uses acupressure to address specific points on the body to alleviate allergy symptoms. Two bonus benefits of massage therapy for treating your seasonal allergies is that there are no dangerous side effects and treatment can last longer than conventional treatments – oftentimes weeks longer. As with any condition though, if you are taking prescribed medication, massage and other therapies are not a replacement therapy but a conjunctive therapy. So enjoy the blooming flowers and blossoming trees this spring… I know I will.

Massage Refresh on CNN:

In September 2011,  I was interviewed by CNN Money with Charlie Payne and spoke about the events that transpired in the past 2 years that led me down the path of becoming an LMT and hatching Massage Refresh. Due to CNN copyright laws, I am unable to post the entire video here but you may access the video via:

http://money.cnn.com/video/pf/2011/10/06/pf_bj_massage_school.cnnmoney/